Ethical Sourcing

Ethical Sourcing

Fair Trade

Unlike traditional fair trade programs that merely certify products, the Fair for Life program thoroughly reviews Mountain Rose Herbs from top to bottom, evaluating and auditing our working conditions, labor practices, environmental programs, social benefits, and company transparency. Not only does the Fair for Life program certify our entire company as an employer and community member with For Life Social Responsibility certification, but it additionally reviews and monitors the origins of our fair trade products to ensure complete compliance with the Fair for Life Fair Trade program.

If you would like a copy of our complete fair trade certificate faxed or emailed to you, or for any other inquiries concerning our fair trade status and certification, please forward your requests to:

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Download our Fair For Life Certificate (PDF)

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Our commitment to exceptional care and cultivation standards applies not only to our products, but also to the hardworking people who grow them. That is why, since 2012, Mountain Rose Herbs has maintained a comprehensive fair trade certification in accordance with the Fair for Life standard. While traditional fair trade certifications primarily focus on the production of finished goods, the Fair for Life program raises the bar by applying fair-for-all principles that ensure human rights and fair working conditions are maintained at each stage in the supply chain.

Shaped by its goal of improving the position of marginalized social groups worldwide (particularly in developing countries), Fair for Life's guidelines support and enrich the livelihoods of thousands of small farmers and workers through fair pricing and an additional, allocated-type of dividend: development premium funds. Fair trade development premiums are placed into a separate communal fund that workers and farmers can use to improve their social, economic, and environmental conditions. These premium funds can be deployed at the community's discretion to enhance the local economy (by investing in farm improvements, equipment, or employee housing), or to enrich the community directly (through the construction of schools, healthcare facilities, or vital regional infrastructure, such as roads and bridges).

The international certification body, ECOCERT SA, has a strong reputation for its success in promoting regional development through its industry-leading record of verifying compliance with organic, ecological, and social standards. Its fair trade program consists of two certification options: “For Life” and “Fair for Life”.

Learn more about our Fair For Life Certification.

To qualify for the “For Life” social responsibility certification, companies must demonstrate environmental and social responsibility in their own communities and beyond. For Life organizations must provide safe and fair working conditions for their workers, social security coverage and fair pay, reasonable working hours and schedules, and established health and safety practices and provisions. Certified businesses must also substantiate their support of core labor rights, prohibiting practices like child labor and discrimination. In addition, For Life certification reflects a company's commitment to environmental stewardship through water and energy conservation, ecosystem protection, and responsible waste management.

After obtaining For Life status, a company may apply for “Fair for Life” certification, an additional verification process which would qualify the organization to handle fair trade products. A Fair for Life organization must maintain fair and responsible sourcing practices that ultimately benefit primary producer groups, such as farmers. Fair for Life certification encompasses all the social responsibility criteria of the For Life certification while mandating an additional commitment to create and sustain long-term relationships with fair trade product suppliers. By including practices such as fair pricing, open negotiations, and the payment of development premiums, Fair for Life handlers promote and support the principal mission of fair trade certification: to support and strengthen the market position of marginalized producers and workers worldwide, particularly those with no prior access to the fair trade market.

As a For Life- and Fair for Life-certified handler, the entirety of Mountain Rose Herbs' business model and practices are thoroughly reviewed and evaluated annually by ECOCERT. These audits and on-site inspections of our workplace conditions, core labor practices, environmental programs, and local community relations call for surpassing traceability and transparency and affirming our commitment to the standards of For Life-certification.

Additionally, in order to maintain our certification as a Fair for Life handler of fair trade products, each link in our supply chain is subject to its own evaluation and assessment. This inter-organizational audit verifies that laborers receive livable wages, that safe work conditions are maintained, and that development premium funds are properly distributed to agricultural communities, many of which had been exploited for generations.

We are committed to developing and maintaining long-term relationships with our fair trade growers. In particular, we prefer to source directly from farms, and most of our fair trade offerings are tended by small grower cooperatives. Fair trade development premiums are ultimately intended to benefit these producer groups, and it is especially satisfying to be the “first buyer” and pay these premiums directly to a collective so that its members can improve their social, economic, and environmental conditions.

Our commitment to fair sourcing practices and farm partnerships provides us with a variety of opportunities to help small growers, and we are particularly proud of our unique Fair for Life Project in India. Rather than abandon our existing farmers, we decided to invest in fair trade certification for those who couldn't previously afford it, empowering them to now compete in the global marketplace. Acting as the “mandator” for a farm cooperative in rural India, Mountain Rose Herbs finances the group's Fair for Life certification audits, pays fair prices for the goods produced, and reinvests the premiums generated by this project to improve the wellbeing of these agricultural communities. Although Mountain Rose Herbs is the mandator of this farm group's Fair for Life certification, we have no objection to them entering into agreements with other buyers. We do, however, have an “open purchase order” that predicts the amount we will purchase during the upcoming year, ensuring that we can supply our customers with quality herbs from small family farmers we know and trust and that our farmers in India have a predictable income.

Year after year, Mountain Rose Herbs is found to far exceed the minimum points required for certification, and we are honored to uphold the standards and principles of the Fair for Life program. We give thanks to the many skilled hands that work hard to provide our food and beneficial herbal ingredients.